Good News: No Hurricanes Anytime Soon

August beckons, a month of (slightly) cooler fronts and swirling, Texas-size storms. Rumor has it the first hurricane “names” came from Navy pilots in the Pacific. The first aviators to spot a tropical system could name it after their wife or girl friend. Naming destructive storms after women (only) was a bit sexist. Today these super-storms are named after women and men, alternating Anglo, Hispanic and French, to reflect all the cultures impacted by these fierce storms.

If anyone asks, Hurricane Erick should pass south of Hawaii this week, but keep an eye on “Flossie” next week.

A relatively quiet week is shaping up here at home; one of the nicer, drier, more comfortable weeks of summer. Temperatures mellow over time, with a few pop-up instability thundershowers possible by Friday and Saturday. But no widespread, organized monsoons to trash your weekend plans, God-willing.

The worst of the heat stays south and west of Minnesota; a parade of weak Canadian cool fronts keeping us comfortable into mid- August.

Free A/C Northern Tier of USA Into Mid-August. Much of America will sizzle, but models show (slight) relief from Seattle to the Twin Cities, Chicago, Detroit and Boston as a series of weak cool fronts sneak south of the border, based on GFS guidance from NOAA.

Praedictix Briefing: Issued Tuesday, July 30th, 2019:

  • We’re tracking a couple named tropical systems in the Pacific this morning, as well as a couple areas in the Atlantic that have a low chance of formation in the next five days.
  • In the Pacific, Hurricane Erick has crossed into the Central Pacific basin and looks to pass south of Hawaii late in the week. This will, however, bring an increased chance of rain to the state Thursday Night into the weekend. The second system, Tropical Storm Flossie, is expected to become a hurricane later today and then a major hurricane Wednesday Night. This system could have impacts on Hawaii next week, although as a weaker system.
  • In the Atlantic, a tropical wave in the northeastern Caribbean Sea has a 10% chance of formation as it approaches the east coast of Florida this weekend. A second wave, located in the eastern Atlantic, has a 20% chance of formation as it moves into the central Atlantic late this week.

Tracking Erick. Overnight, Hurricane Erick crossed over into the Central Pacific. As of 11 PM HST, Erick had sustained winds of 80 mph and was moving to the west at 17 mph. The center of the storm was located about 1,015 miles east-southeast of Hilo, HI. Some additional strengthening is expected over the next 48 hours and Erick could reach major hurricane status before rapid weakening starts to occur. While the track of this storm will keep this system south of the Hawaiian Islands, there will be an increased chance of rain across the state from Thursday Night into the weekend as the system passes nearby.

Tracking Flossie. Further east we have Tropical Storm Flossie, which as of 11 PM HST had sustained winds of 65 mph and was moving to the west at 16 mph. It is expected to strengthen into a hurricane later today, and then could become a major hurricane Wednesday Night as the system continues to move to the west and west-northwest over the next several days. This one could have impacts on Hawaii – though as a weaker system – as we head into early next week.

Two Areas Of Interest In The Atlantic. In the Atlantic, there are two areas that are being monitored for potential development over the next five days.

The first, located over the northeastern Caribbean Sea, has some disorganized showers and storms with it this morning. Heavy rain will be possible across Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Hispaniola, and the southeastern Bahamas over the next few days, but no significant development is expected. It could have a slightly better chance of development as it approaches the eastern Florida coast into the weekend. This system has a 0% chance of formation in the next two days and a 10% chance in the next five days.

The second area of interest is in the far eastern Atlantic, and atmospheric conditions are expected to become better for development this weekend as it moves into the central Atlantic. This system has a 0% chance of formation in the next two days and a 20% chance in the next five days.

D.J. Kayser, Meteorologist, Praedictix

Hurricane Erick May Effect Hawaii By Week’s End. USA TODAY has details.

Record-Breaking Tornado Season is Pummeling Mobile Home Residents. Here’s an excerpt of a post at talkpoverty.org: “…Tornadoes in the South can be particularly deadly because there’s a relatively high percentage of the population there living in mobile homes — and most of those homes are spread out in rural areas, meaning lots of people with few options to escape the path of powerful tornadoes. Alabama and the Carolinas are consistently among the top five states with the most residents living in mobile homes — as well as in modular or manufactured housing, which is intended to be in a fixed location, but is similarly dangerous in severe storms. According to the Manufactured Housing Institute, residents of manufactured housing have a median household income of just under $30,000 per year. Protecting these low-income, far-flung populations with limited resources from major storms isn’t easy. That made them a subject of particular interest to researchers involved in a recent University of Maryland study examining mobile homes…”

Graphic above: NOAA SPC.

Las Vegas Grasshopper Invasion So Big It Shows Up on Doppler Radar. CNN.com has details: “…In viewing the radar, CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar said it looked like there were two storms over the Vegas area: one north of the city (that was actual rain) and another right over Las Vegas. But the second one wasn’t moving as rain normally would, she said. “It looked as though it should be torrentially downpouring in Las Vegas,” said Chinchar. By changing the settings on the radar, meteorologists could see that the other “storm” was actually the massive hordes of grasshoppers that have settled over the city in recent days, Chinchar said...”

Could Renewable Natural Gas Be the Next Big Thing in Renewable Energy? What a load of crap! A post at Yale E360 is a worthy read; here’s the intro: “In the next few weeks, construction crews will begin building an anaerobic digester on the Goodrich Family Farm in western Vermont that will transform cow manure and locally sourced food waste into renewable natural gas (RNG), to be sent via pipeline to nearby Middlebury College and other customers willing to pay a premium for low-carbon energy. For the developer, Vanguard Renewables, the project represents both a departure and a strategic bet. The firm already owns and operates five farm-based biogas systems in Massachusetts; each generates electricity on site that is sent to the grid and sold under the state’s net-metering law. The Vermont project, however, is Vanguard’s first foray into producing RNG — biogas that is refined, injected into natural gas pipelines as nearly pure methane, and then burned to make electricity, heat homes, or fuel vehicles…”

Photo credit: “A manure and food waste-to-energy facility at Bar-Way Farm in Deerfield, Massachusetts.” Vanguard Renewables.

Firefighters Are the Happiest Workers in America. Turns out there isn’t much of a correlation between making a ton of money and being happy. Bloomberg reports: “…Bloomberg’s Work Wise, our special report on how young professionals can get ahead, make money and give back, shows that some of the most contented workers don’t rake in big bucks at all. Firefighters have the highest level of job satisfaction, even though their median annual income is just under $50,000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Just one of the top five happiest professions—pediatricians—comes in at the high end of the annual salary range…”

Do Not Show Up on a Cruise Ship Dressed as a Clown. CNN Travel has the cautionary tale – here are a few excerpts: “...The P&O cruise ship Britannia was on the final leg of a cruise to Norway’s fjords from Southampton, in southeast England, when the fracas broke out, ITV reported. A brawl started on the 16th floor restaurant on Thursday, when a passenger appeared dressed as a clown. The passenger’s attire apparently upset some of the guests, Gaisford said… “This upset one of their party because they’d specifically booked a cruise with no fancy dress. It led to a violent confrontation.” In the United Kingdom, fancy dress means wearing a costume.  “There was blood everywhere,” Gaisford wrote. “Passengers used furniture and plates as weapons...”

Scientists Create Contact Lens That Let’s You Zoom In When You Blink Twice. But when can I take a picture by just staring? CNET.com has the amazing story: “It is absolutely the stuff of science fiction: a contact lens that zooms on your command. But scientists at the University of California San Diego have gone ahead and made it a reality. They’ve created a contact lens, controlled by eye movements, that can zoom in if you blink twice. How is this possible? In the simplest of terms, the scientists measured the electrooculographic signals generated when eyes make specific movements (up, down, left, right, blink, double blink) and created a soft biomimetic lens that responds directly to those electric impulses. The lens created was able to change its focal length depending on the signals generated. Therefore the lens could literally zoom in the blink of an eye...”

Photo credit: “Enhance!” Thomas Trutschel.

77 F. maximum temperature yesterday in the Twin Cities.

83 F. average high on July 30.

87 F. high on July 30, 2018.

July 31, 1961: Very heavy rain falls at Albert Lea, where 6.7 inches is recorded in 24 hours.

WEDNESDAY: Partly sunny, looking good. Winds: S 3-8. High: 78

THURSDAY: Intervals of sun, stickier. Winds: S 3-8. Wake-up: 62. High: 83

FRIDAY: Hazy sun, isolated T-shower possible. Winds: S 5-10. Wake-up: 65. High: 85

SATURDAY: Sunny start, stray late PM T-shower? Winds: S 5-10. Wake-up: 68. High: 86

SUNDAY: Sticky sun, late-day thunder. Winds: SW 8-13. Wake-up: 69. High: 86

MONDAY: Passing shower or T-shower, turning windy. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 69. High: 81

TUESDAY: Sunnier with lower humidity. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 65. High: 82

Climate Stories….

“Everything is Changing”: Farmers Seek Solutions, Not Slogans, On Climate Change. CBS News continues an excellent series; here’s an excerpt that caught my eye: “…Angel continues, “Some of the ideas being advocated for greenhouse gas reduction, such as a carbon tax or the promotion of a vegan diet, would have significant impacts on farmers. That makes my job of talking to farmers about climate change a lot harder.”  To bridge the political and cultural gap on the issue, Adams suggests ditching what he considers the loaded term “climate change” and replacing it with more neutral discussion of extreme weather. “When you stop and talk about it that way, you get more understanding of it than just plain, ‘do you believe in climate change?’,” he said.  The research supports this. “Terms like ‘increasing weather variability,’ ‘long-term weather patterns’ and ‘extreme weather events’ and their local impacts are less controversial than the topic of climate change,” Arbuckle and his Iowa State University colleagues write…”

Climate Scientists Drive Stake Through Heart of Skeptics’ Argument. Yes, this time really does appear to be different, driven by man-made emissions. Here’s an excerpt of a summary of new research highlighted at NBC News: “Global warming skeptics sometimes say rising temperatures are just another naturally occurring shift in Earth’s climate, like the Medieval Warm Period of the years 800 to 1200 or the Little Ice Age, a period of cooling that spanned from roughly 1300 to 1850. But a pair of studies published Wednesday provides stark evidence that the rise in global temperatures over the past 150 years has been far more rapid and widespread than any warming period in the past 2,000 years — a finding that undercuts claims that today’s global warming isn’t necessarily the result of human activity...”

Greta Setting Sail: Headlines and links via Climate Nexus: “Teen Swedish activist Greta Thunberg will sail across the Atlantic to attend a UN climate change summit this fall, she announced on Twitter Monday. Thunberg, who had been seeking a way to travel to the United States without flying, will hitch a ride on the 60ft racing boat Malizia II. Unlike transatlantic flights, which emit enough CO2 to melt 30 square feet of Arctic ice, the boat’s solar panels and underwater turbines enable it to make zero-emissions journeys.” (New York Times $, CNN, The Guardian, APReuters, CBSGizmodo)

Ethiopia Breaks Tree-Planting Record to Tackle Climate Change. BBC News reports: “Ethiopia has planted more than 350 million trees in a day, officials say, in what they believe is a world record. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is leading the project, which aims to counter the effects of deforestation and climate change in the drought-prone country. Some public offices have been shut down to allow civil servants to take part. The UN says Ethiopia’s forest coverage declined from 35% of total land in the early 20th Century to a little above 4% in the 2000s…”

Small Towns Fear They are Unprepared for Future, Climate-Driven Flooding. A story at KCUR.com caught my eye; here’s a clip: “…Much of the Mississippi, and the massive tributaries that feed it, stayed flooded until June. That meant more than 140 days of cascading disasters for hundreds of small towns from Minnesota to Louisiana and catastrophic damage to ranch and farm communities that dot the Mississippi’s swollen branches. It was the most prolonged, widespread flood fight in U.S. history. The entire Mississippi River basin — an area that drains about 40 percent of the continental United States — was at flood stage this spring for the first time in recorded history, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers...”

Map credit: Analysis of data provided by Pew Research Center. Credit: Sean McMinn and Nick Underwood/NPR.

Floods Force Reckoning in Heartland: Headlines and links via Climate Nexus: “The devastating floods that ravaged the Midwest this spring are forcing farmers to reckon with a “new reality” with climate change, a new CBS documentary shows. “A Climate Reckoning in the Heartland,” which premiered Sunday night, looks at how farmers are grappling with the overwhelming loss of their crops and thinking about new solutions to prepare for the future. “When I was a kid, an inch of rain, or an inch and a half of rain, was a big deal. Now it’s like we get four- or five-inch rains all the time, or six-inch rains, even. That was unheard of,” Nebraskan farmer Brett Adams told CBS. Floodwaters inundated 80 percent of Adams’s lands this spring. “I’m not a climate change guy, as far as climate change, global warming, or any of that stuff. But have I seen the weather change in, say, my 20-year farming career? Absolutely.” (CBSN)

File image: NOAA

What is Regenerative Farming? Experts Say It Can Combat Climate Change. CBS News reports; here’s an excerpt: “…After coming to terms with the fact that his multigenerational family farm and others like it may not survive if unprecedented flooding events become the new normal, he decided something needed to change. His business, GC Resolve, offers grassroots education and mobilizes the general public for several initiatives, including regenerative farming. Christensen encourages farmers to use a range of regenerative methods to prevent soil erosion and degradation. Utilizing cover crops, or plants sown after harvesting the farm’s primary crop, can help to anchor the soil in place, slow down rainfall, and increase biodiversity...”

File photo credit: “Historic flooding in March 2019 left some towns and farms along the Missouri River completely underwater.” CBS News.

Past 5 Years Hottest on Record, Globally. Climate Central has details: “…Using re-baselined NOAA and NASA data, we find that this year is on pace to be the 3rd hottest on record globally—a ranking that would maintain the most recent five years as the hottest five on record. While U.S. heat hasn’t been as extreme this year, record rainfall has plagued the country for months

Across the world, this year has been loaded with record high temperatures. Here are a few highlights: 

  • Last month was the hottest June on record—both for Europe and for the globe (NASA data — beating 2016 by about 0.2oF).
  • Anchorage shattered its previous temperature record by 5 degrees—in a year that has had near-unprecedented melting of Arctic sea ice as well. 
  • Australia suffered its hottest summer on record, causing blackouts and mass deaths of native wildlife. 
  • Nationwide record highs were set in several countries, from France and Angola to Cuba and Vietnam…”

Jay Inslee: Climate Change is a Winning Campaign Issue – And President Trump Knows It. Here’s a snippet of an Op-Ed at The New York Times: “I’ve heard it my whole career, from pundits, special interests and even political consultants: Just shut up about climate change if you want to be elected. They set up a false dichotomy between the economy and the environment, saying you can’t fight for good jobs and for clean air. That was bad advice then, and it’s even worse advice now. There is a change happening: Americans really feel climate change in their daily lives — and they are demanding leadership from their politicians like never before. In my campaign, I’ve seen how climate change — and the coal, oil and gas industries fueling it — have become personal problems for many families…”